Feeds

Netflix vs Lovefilm

Streaming giants go head to head

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Quality

Picture quality is another big issue, and Netflix has plenty of content that’s billed as being in HD with 5.1 sound. The HD version of Armageddon certainly looks crisper than the standard definition alternative on Lovefilm, but – perhaps due to the use of Dolby Digital Plus – there was no sign of 5.1 audio via the HDMI-ARC connection back to my AV system.

Lovefilm doesn’t yet offer HD, though it says it's hoping to roll it out as more of its customers get decent broadband.

Netflix streaming service screenshot on Samsung

It’s worth noting that neither service looked quite as slick when watching on the Mac as it did on the TV. The opening time vortex on the Doctor Who TV movie via Lovefilm was tremendously blocky. Overall, I’d class Netflix as slightly above DVD quality, if you pick an HD film, and Lovefilm as slightly below. But remember, the content itself will have an impact. A 1976 Johnny Cash concert i’s never going to look as slick as more recent material.

Devices

Another consideration, of course, is whether or not you have a device that works with one of the services.

Netflix is available on some Samsung smart TVs, as well as the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, the Wii, and media players from Apple, Philips, Roku and Western Digital, plus Android and iOS, and some LG disc players.

Lovefilm streaming service screenshot on Samsung

Lovefilm is on some Samsung, Sony and Cello TVs, the Sony and Microsoft games consoles, the iPad, a Digital Stream IPTV box, and various other bits of Sony home entertainment kit.

It’s worth noting too that users of Linux and older Apple kit have been left out in the cold recently by Lovefilm’s switch to Microsoft's Silverlight from Adobe Flash. Netflix too uses the Silverlight plugin for PC and Mac viewing, so open source fans will likely have to opt for disc rentals rather than online viewing.

Netflix streaming service screenshot on Samsung

Netflix has HD and Dolby 5.1 options for some content

Making the choice

So, which should you go for? Ultimately, it will probably be the content that’s the decider for many. Of course, you could pick both, and still not be breaking the bank. My personal choice would be Netflix, thanks to the larger number of TV shows available. But for others, the extra content available on disc from Lovefilm will make it much better value. ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Man buys iPHONE 6 and DROPS IT to SMASH on PURPOSE
Yarrrgh! 'Tis Antipodean insanity, ye crazy swab
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.